Lotus at Sunrise. Photo by John Sullivan

EAST ALTON – The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) is celebrating opening night for its World Water Day Photo Contest Exhibit from 5-7 p.m., March 20, at the Jerry F. Costello Field Station in East Alton.

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NGRREC designed the exhibit to showcase the community's profound bond with the Mississippi River and its connected ecosystems.

Photographers of all skill levels from across the region submitted photos from October 2023 through February 2024, and the top-scoring photos will be on display for attendees.

The exhibition is a platform for hobbyists and experts to share their captivating views of life along the river.

"I'm excited that we at NGRREC have the opportunity to highlight so many passionate and talented locals," said Environmental Educator Jolena Pang. "Many of us have beautiful connections to the surrounding riverine ecosystems; art forms like nature photography can teach us about these connections in a creative and inspiring way."

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The contest’s expert judging panel comprises Marty McKay, Alton-based photographer and professional in the recycling industry; Jeffrey Vaughn, painter, photographer, and retired art professor from Lewis and Clark Community College; and Leslie Gittemeier, a photographer with a background in wildlife biology.

The open-house style event will include a small reception at 5:30 p.m. There will be light refreshments, a cash bar with a selection of wines, and some light fare for visitors to enjoy while taking in the beauty of the exhibit.

Pang said the exhibit is an excellent opportunity for those interested in photography, environmental conservation, and community heritage to come together and appreciate the beauty and significance of the Mississippi River through the eyes of talented photographers.

Event info and registration: https://bit.ly/NGRRECPhotoExhibit

About National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC)

NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them, facilitating the efficient implementation of science into policy and practice. Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, the center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities.

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